Pundit Wire

Author Archives: Hal Gordon

The True Believer, Revisited

15916The New York Times ran a front page article on February 18, chronicling the lives of three Egyptian youths, one of whom turned jihadist and went to fight for ISIS in Syria.

The three young men were friends. All of them came from middle-class backgrounds. All of them were devout Muslims, and all of them struggled to square the strictures of puritanical Islam with the attractions of the secular world—in particular, the sexual impulses they shared as normal young men. All of them had difficulty finding work in Egypt’s uncertain economy, and all of them were disillusioned when Egypt’s army took power and suppressed the militant Islamic Brotherhood.

Photo: Harper & Brothers

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Posted in Culture, General, International, National Security, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Guerrilla Warfare Against Gay Marriage

imagesThe chief justice of the state of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, has ordered the state’s probate judges to defy a federal district court ruling and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The result is that some judges in Alabama are issuing licenses and some are not. The confusion may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of gay marriage in June.

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Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” Speech

Booker_T_Washington_retouched_flattened-cropFebruary is Black History Month, so my post today is devoted to a notable speech by the great civil rights leader, Booker T. Washington.

The date was September 18, 1895. The occasion was the Cotton States and International Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The organizers of the event wanted to impress visiting Northerners with the progress of race relations in the South. So Washington, the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was invited to speak at the opening ceremonies.

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Posted in Civil Rights, General, History, Political Rhetoric, Race & Ethnicity | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Churchill After Fifty Years

Sir_Winston_S_ChurchillWinston Churchill died fifty years ago on January 24, 1965. I was 17 at the time, and have vivid memories of watching his funeral on television.

To mark this anniversary of his passing, I’m reading The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by rising British political star Boris Johnson. Like Churchill himself, Mr. Johnson—currently mayor of London—is a journalist turned politician, which gives him added insight into his subject, as does his own reputation for flamboyance.

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The Christmas Truce at 100

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.43.26 PMThe story has been told many times. (photo: Sainsbury)

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Dickens Noir

JHM1Anyone who dismisses Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as Victorian treacle should see the latest adaptation of the story as mounted by the Houston Grand Opera.

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How Mike Nichols Mauled Plastic

the graduateThe recent passing of director Mike Nichols took me back to my college days and the first time I saw The Graduate. It was one of Nichol’s best movies, and certainly one of the best movies ever made. In particular, The Graduate deserves to be remembered as the movie that dramatically changed the significance of the word “plastic.”

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Dynasties

Kennedy_brosAverage voter turnout in the 2014 elections is reported to be the lowest since World War II. There are doubtless many reasons for this poor showing, but I’m going to suggest a provocative one: namely, that the American people aren’t voting because they are coming to accept the dynastic principle when it come to filling public offices.

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Posted in Campaigns & Elections, General, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment